Becoming A Catholic

What is the RCIA
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults?


The RCIA is primarily intended for those who are unbaptised and preparing to receive the sacraments of initiation – Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil.

It is the inspiration and the structure of how a community ministers to someone who sets out on the path to adult initiation (and children of catechetical age) in the Catholic Church.

There are four major periods in the initiation process, separated by various liturgical rituals, which express and celebrate what is occurring at each stage in the process.

The four major periods in the initiation process



I am already baptised,
how do I become Catholic?


“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:4.

The Church does not want to place unnecessary obstacles or burdens in anyone’s path to becoming Catholic. The Church, though, does want to help a Christian enquirer to deepen their faith and offer a thorough understanding and appreciation of Catholic beliefs and practice.

The catechesis and formation in preparation for being received into the Catholic Church by receiving the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist for the first time will depend on one’s background and what might be needed to live a full and active Catholic life. While Christians hold many fundamental beliefs in common, many Catholic doctrines and traditions are not shared by all.

This does take time but does not need to be protracted and a Christian can be initiated when they and the parish community discern an understanding of the fundamental beliefs and traditions of Catholicism.

If you are interested or curious, please contact the office of your local parish so that the community can share their faith with you and apprentice you in the prayer and service, and the life and mission of the Catholic Church.   You could speak with the priest after Mass but they are often busy at this time and unable to take down details. Why not introduce yourself, saying you will ring during the week.

Will I be baptised again in the Catholic Church?

The Catholic Church respects the Baptism of anyone who was baptised with flowing water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Baptism is the sacrament of our rebirth in Christ and our immersion into his saving death and resurrection and therefore cannot be repeated. Once we have been claimed by Christ in Baptism, we are forever marked as sons and daughters of God.

What is involved in the reception into the Catholic Church of someone who is baptised?

After sufficient preparation through catechesis, prayer and worship, and an introduction to Catholic life, values and mission, a Christian is asked to make a profession of faith, and to express their acceptance of Catholic teaching and to make a clear intention to live as a Catholic.  Following this affirmation, the Christian is sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation and will receive Holy Communion at the table of the Eucharist.  This ritual is called the Rite of Reception of Baptised Christians into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

Terminology guide

Catechism

The Catechism is divided into four movements that are distinct, self-contained units – Profession of Faith, Sacraments, Moral Life, Prayer but which are intrinsically connected to one another. Within these movements, various major and minor themes are developed. These are the different beliefs the Church has about God, Jesus Christ, Baptism, the Eucharist, human dignity, sin, contemplation, and the vision of God, to name just a few. Together these beliefs form a symphony of faith, a harmonious whole.

The thing to remember is that all four movements are intrinsically connected to one another, because in reality we experience them as intrinsically connected together in our lives. Believing the Creed [Profession of Faith] is inextricably bound up with our participation in the liturgy [Sacraments], which means also learning to pray [Prayer], which to be authentic means learning to live like Christ [Moral Life].

Catechumen

One under instruction. In the Rite for Christian Initiation of Adults, one who is preparing for Baptism. Catechumens are entitled to some of the same rights as the Baptised, for example having the right to a Catholic funeral in the event of death.

Doctrine

The collection of teaching of a particular denomination or Church. The doctrines [teachings] of the Church presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church communicate the Church’s understanding of the truths about the innermost being of God, chosen to share with us and teach us.

The doctrines of the Church are not abstract propositions or academic definitions, but privileged ways of encountering the personal reality of God which have been revealed through God’s glorious manifestations and teachings in salvation history.

Dogmas

Are divinely revealed truths, proclaimed as such by the infallible teaching authority of the church and hence binding now and forever on all the faithful. Dogmas are not abstract, dry-as-dust, theological definitions but divinely revealed truths that put us in touch with the personal reality, truth, beauty and goodness of God.

‘There is an organic connection between our spiritual life and the dogmas.  Dogmas are lights along the path of faith; they illuminate it and make it secure. Conversely, if our life is upright, our intellect and heart will be open to welcome the light shed by the dogmas of faith. (CCC, 89).

The uniqueness of Christian spiritual experience, derives from three divinely revealed truths –the dogma of the Most Holy Trinity, the dogma of the Incarnation of the Son of God, and the dogma of the Mission of the Holy Spirit.


Diocesan Co-ordinator


Sr Mary Louise Walsh ISSM
51 – 59 Allawah Street,
Blacktown NSW 2148
Ph: 02 8838 3457 | Em: mlwalsh@parra.catholic.org.au